Creatives: Stop using charts and graphs to quantify your abilities!

There's an awful trend I'm seeing among creatives who try to quantify their level of expertise, skill level, or experience using a particular program or in an area of work (eg. design, motion graphics, video, etc) by visualizing it or attaching some value to it. As someone who reviews and hires creatives and designers, I'm here to tell you to stop it. Just stop it.

First off, you might have designed or, more likely, filled in the template for a nifty little chart, but it literally means nothing to an employer. What are you qualifying this information with? What does "After Effects 99%" or the visual representation of "I am this good at Photoshop" actually mean? This is a rhetorical question; it means nothing because it doesn't show me your actual ability. It shows me what you think your skill level is relative to I don't know what. These are entirely different things, and I'll tell you this; if you are using this as a means of demonstrating your skills as a designer, you are not as good as you think you are.

Second, as a creative and a designer in this day in age, you need to be proficient at determining where a certain visual design makes sense and where it does not. See my first point. Your design is meaningless, therefore it is a poor design choice. You have failed in your first assignment, communicating your abilities. If you can't communicate your abilities effectively, how can I trust that you'll communicate what I need you for?

Third - I primarily work in video so I see a lot of animators, 3D artists, motion graphic designers, and generalists using this as a way to describe their abilities. Do you know what you don't do? You don't provide a demo reel of your abilities! What?! You have an opportunity to actually showcase your work, to highlight what you are proud of, to demonstrate that you bring creativity and talent not just to the projects you work on, but to create a visual piece that elevates your work for potential employers. This is unacceptable and no matter how great you are, you are in serious danger of getting passed over for many jobs.

In summary:

  1. Stop using meaningless visuals and numbers to describe your abilities.
  2. Start thinking more deeply about the design choices you use on your resume. This is your first point of contact, before the website and before your portfolio. If you aren't doing a good job for yourself here, potential employers are going to pass over you.
  3. Make a demo reel if you are in motion and video design. This is a must.